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Photo ©: Bettini

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28th Olympic Games - August 14-28, 2004

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Photo: © Quick-Step Davitamon

California Dreamin' - The Paolo Bettini Diary 2004

He's from California, down near the beach, but this guy's no surfer dude. Paolo Bettini is from La California, near Cecina on the Tuscan coast in Italy.

The Quick.Step-Davitamon rider had a fantastic 2003 season, winning his second consecutive World Cup, this time with three wins in one season - a feat unequalled by any other rider - plus an Italian championship and the world number one ranking. For the 2004 Olympic Games, Bettini is back on Cyclingnews with his exclusive English-language diary.

Athens, Greece, August 13, 2004

The eve of the Olympics

Hi all my friends at Cyclingnews: How are all you doing?

Here in Athens, Greece at the Olympic Games, everything is going great, despite the major heat. I'm writing this after our training ride Friday. Yesterday on Thursday, the Italian Olympic Team went for a three hour training ride. We went as far as Marathon and rode up Parnassus, the Mountain of the Muses. Our hot, sweaty ride was through the most historical setting possible. No matter where you turn here, right or left, it seems like you're going two millennia back in time. It's been a marvelous experience and perhaps I'll come back as a tourist with my wife Monica and my daughter Veronica one day. After a good three hour ride, we came back to the Olympic Village, had massage and dinner at Casa Italia, then went to sleep.

Friday we took an easy two hour ride in the morning, then came back to the Olympic Village and Casa Italia. At this point, the most important thing is to be rested and relaxed for Saturday's race. After my ride, I had a nice two hour nap, then a good massage. I checked out my bike to make sure everything was perfect. No reason to be in a hurry now.